Biden blames pollution in Delaware for him and others getting cancer

In a speech about the climate crisis, Joe Biden blamed oil refineries in the Northeast for giving him and those he grew up with cancer.

The president spoke in Somerset, Massachusetts, near a manufacturing hub for renewable energy components, about how pollution from oil refineries in Pennsylvania would drift over state lines into his hometown of Claymont, Delaware.

“The first frost, you knew what was happening,” he said on Wednesday. “You had to put on your windshield wipers to get, literally, the oil slick off the window. That’s why I and so damn many other people I grew up [with] have cancer and why for the longest time, Delaware had the highest cancer rate in the nation. But that’s the past, and we’re going to get — we’re going to build a different future, one with clean energy, good-paying jobs.”

The White House later clarified that Mr Biden has had several non-melanoma skin cancers removed, but remains a “healthy” 79-year-old.

Cancer came up during a speech where Mr Biden outlined what his climate agenda would look like, given the repeated failures of Democrats in Congress to pass a climate package.

The president called the climate crisis a “clear and present danger” and took the GOP to task for failing to see it that way, noting “not a single Republican” had gotten behind his climate plans.

“This is an emergency and I will look at it that way,” Mr Biden said as he stood outside Brayton Point, a former coal-fired power plant being converted into a renewables hub making undersea cables for Massachusetts’s growing offshore wind energy.

“When it comes to fighting climate change, I will not take no for an answer,” the president continued.

Mr Biden said he would direct $2.3bn to create cooling centers as one in three Americans face extreme heat alerts, and would expand offshore wind energy generation in the Gulf of Mexico. The White House has promised further announcements in the coming weeks.

Democrats are pushing Mr Biden to do more by declaring a national climate emergency, which would expand his powers to act unilaterally to address the climate crisis.

“If ever there is an emergency that demands ambitious action, climate chaos is it,” read a letter sent to Mr Biden from eight Democratic senators and Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator of Vermont, this week.

We ask that you start by declaring a climate emergency to unlock the broad powers of the National Emergency Act (NEA) and immediately pursue an array of regulatory and administrative actions to slash emissions, protect public health, support national and energy security, and improve our air and water quality,” the senators wrote.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told The Independent on Tuesday that declaring a climate emergency would be an “essential step” and slammed West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin for pulling out of climate negotiations over inflation concerns.

“Manchin has paused all action for the United States to act on climate for the last four years,” Rep Ocasio-Cortez said. “So I don’t think he has any authority to speak on climate for the rest of our term here.”